A no-kill shelter in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is still reeling after nine Department of Natural Resources agents and four sheriff's deputies suddenly descended on its barn and euthanized an abandoned baby deer that was one day away from being moved to a wildlife reserve.
"It was like a SWAT team," shelter staffer Ray Schulze told WISN 12 News, noting that the DNR agents and the deputies were all "armed to the teeth."
The Society of St. Francis Animal Shelter was being raided for temporarily housing a young fawn that was abandoned by her mother.
The shelter had named the animal "Giggles," because "when it made a little noise, it sounded like it was laughing," according to Schulze.
The shelter was on the verge of sending Giggles off to a wildlife reserve that specialized in rehabilitating deer.
Schulze informed the agents of this, but was ignored.
"I was thinking in my mind they were going to take the deer and take it to a wildlife shelter," he recalled, "and here they come carrying the baby deer over their shoulder. She was in a body bag."
When Schulze asked an agent why, he responded by saying it was a matter of policy. "That's one hell of a policy," Schulze replied.
Per Wisconsin law, DNR supervisor Jennifer Niemeyer explained to WISN, Giggles had to be put down "because of the potential for disease and danger to humans."
She said the department was "empathetic" to the shelter's distress, adding that "these are always very difficult situations for both parties involved."
However, when asked why a phone call wasn't made to the shelter prior to the raid, Niemeyer compared it to informing drug dealers of a bust ahead of schedule.
Shelter president Cindy Schultz, meanwhile, is planning to sue the DNR, and has also taken issue with the unnecessary taxpayer expense involved in removing a small harmless deer.
"They went way over the top for a little tiny baby deer," she said.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to the agents involved as "federal agents." They were dispatched by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
[screengrab via WISN]